* Terminal may strip Lithuania of transit fee revenues
* Gazprom, Lithuania in row over gas prices, distribution
MOSCOW, Sept 24 Russia's Gazprom is
looking into building a liquefied natural gas (LNG) import
terminal on the Baltic Sea to supply the country's Kaliningrad
enclave, amid a spat with neighbouring Lithuania over gas prices
Gazprom, the world's biggest gas producer, supplies around 2
billion cubic meters of gas per year to Kaliningrad via
Lithuania, paying transit fees.
However, Lithuania also buys its gas from Gazprom and,
according to European Commission, pays more for the gas than any
other EU state, leading to a dispute.
Gazprom said on Monday its Chief Executive Alexei Miller and
Kaliningrad governor Nikolai Tsukanov had agreed to study the
construction of an LNG import terminal, with an investment
decision seen next year.
Gazprom had previously said in June it was looking into
building an LNG plant in the Baltic Sea that would actually
produce the gas, rather than just convert imported LNG.
Valery Nesterov, an analyst with Sberbank CIB, said
Lithuania could lose transit fees from Gazprom if the Russian
producer presses ahead with the import terminal.
However, Gazprom would probably have to find new sources of
the frozen gas, as it currently only has one LNG producing plant
- on the Russian Pacific island of Sakhalin.
Lithuania plans to start importing LNG itself in 2015 to
reduce its dependence on Russian gas supplies, which totalled
over 3 billion cubic metres in 2012 - small compared with
Gazprom's total exports to Europe, but still a blow to the
Russian company's revenues if that demand dried up.
Gazprom, which supplies a quarter of Europe's gas needs, is
facing growing pressure from cash-strapped Western clients
seeking to cut bills and to revise long-term oil-linked
($1 = 31.7992 Russian roubles)
(Reporting by Katya Golubkova; Editing by Mark Potter)